Saturday, January 28, 2006

"change" and "change out"

As a frequent HGTV viewer, I've noticed the use of the term "change out," and I wonder how this term came to be used.  As far as I can tell, "change out" means the same as "change"--as in, "Next, we'll change out these old tattered slipcovers for these trendy new ones."  Wouldn't "change" work just as well?

I checked the Merriam Webster and American Heritage dictionary websites, and neither of them notes this phrasal verb form.  Anyone know its genesis?

Note:  I'll be especially concerned if students start talking about the legislature's changing out a former statute for its amended version!!


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I first started noticing this usage a number of years ago. I think I first heard it in a technology context: the computer repairman said "Let's try changing out the disk drive." The word "out" seemed to relate to physically removing (taking "out") a piece of hardware from the inside of the box. That would be different from merely "changing" the disk drive (i.e. by reprogramming it without physically removing it).

Perhaps this usage caught on in other contexts when it became hip to sound geeky?

Posted by: Ken Chestek | Jan 30, 2006 6:43:29 AM

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